This bulletin highlights significant events in the world of arms control in the coming week, as compiled by staff and friends of the Arms Control Association. (Send your suggestions for events to be covered here.)
– the Editors at Arms Control Today
States Meet for Middle East WMD Free Zone Pre-Meeting
On Oct. 21, Jaakko Laajava, the Finnish coordinator for the Conference on a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction will convene key parties in Glion, Switzerland for consultations on reaching agreement on an agenda and date for the long-delayed meeting. If the key parties, including Israel, can agree on an agenda, the meeting might occur this year.
For further background, see the July 2013 ACA fact sheet, “WMD-Free Middle East Proposal At-A-Glance.”
Deadline for Syria to Submit CW Elimination Plan
Over the past month, inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), supported by a team from the UN, have begun work in Syria to account for its chemical weapons stockpile. Work on destruction of mixing and filling equipment and delivery systems has begun. By all accounts, the Assad regime appears to be determined to meet the accelerated schedules and requirements of the agreement to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons originally hammered out by the United States and Russia on Sept. 14.
However, a great deal of very difficult work still lies ahead. The agreement calls for Syria to submit a detailed plan for the elimination of its 1,000-ton stockpile of bulk chemical agents and weaponized stocks by October 27 and for the OPCW Executive Council to approve the plan by Nov. 15. Foreign Policy magazine reports that the plan may involve the removal of the bulk and precursor chemicals from Syria for destruction in another country or countries.
For more background, see “Plan Set to Rid Syria of Chemical Arms” by Dan Horner in the October issue of Arms Control Today.
IAEA and Iran Meet in Vienna on Nuclear Investigation
Following renewed high-level negotiation between Iran and the United States and its P5+1 partners in Geneva last week, the two sides announced they would meet again on November 6 and 7. On Oct. 23, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet in Rome with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk about Iran’s nuclear program.
In addition, Iranian diplomats will meet with IAEA officials in Vienna on Oct. 28 to seek ways to resolve the Agency’s longstanding investigation into the potential military dimension of Iran’s nuclear activities. For more on this aspect of Iran’s controversial nuclear program, see this 2012 Issue Brief from the Arms Control Association.
Pakistani Leader to Meet with Obama
On Oct. 23, Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House about issues including military extremism. The U.S. intelligence community had long been concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons complex and the possibility that extremists could steal materials for a nuclear bomb.
For more on this, see “Challenges for Pakistan’s Nuclear Security” by Naeem Salik and Kenneth N. Luongo in the March 2013 issue of Arms Control Today.
G8 Global Partnership Working Group Meeting
Members of the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction will meet October 22-25 in London. The United Kingdom is chair of the Global Partnership for 2013.
The Global Partnership began in 2002 as a mission to prevent terrorists from acquiring or developing nonconventional weapons. In 2011 the mandate of the Global Partnership was extended and the scope of the work was expanded to include areas like biosecurity and radiological source security.
For more information see “Global Partnership Revamped in 2012,” by Kelsey Davenport in the January/February issue of Arms Control Today.